Hello, I am Lisa Lafave, the Fertility Coach from Coaching Rocks, LLC. I am certified with the International Coaching Federation, and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I was originally trained as a Clinical Psychologist and have expertise in working with children and families. Likewise, I hold an Executive MBA.
I am a single mom by choice and got my dream children after 15 years of trying multiple methods. I started my journey with surrogacy, but quickly shied away from it. Then I began artificial insemination, with the benefit of Clomid to encourage multiple eggs to release. I didn’t stick with this method very long, as I had some fundamental concerns. I had a number of illnesses, and was prescribed multiple medications. I worried about how I would exist, without the support of these medicines, if I were to stop them, while trying to conceive. Moreover, I worried about what impact these medicines would have on a developing fetus in my womb.
Next, I tried domestic adoption. I quickly learned that as a single, older mom, very few pregnant young women would want me to raise their child. These ladies were primarily looking for young couples to raise the babies they were adopting out.
I figured perhaps governments from other countries would be more forgiving. So next, I turned to international adoption, in which I attempted to adopt from Brazil. I had always wanted to travel to Rio andI was told they had babies there that looked like me! So I started my journey. I learned all the ins and outs of International Adoption. I completed all of my paperwork and received permission from both governments to get my children. I was seeking a sibling pair of two under 5 years old. I was simply waiting for the “cejas,” their equivalent of a social worker to pair me with my children. I waited, and I waited. After several years, 4 to 5 years to be exact, my adoption was halted by an argument, about the Haugue Convention, between Brazil and the United States. The governments simply could come to a resolution. Brazil ultimately told the United States that they had successfully adopted children out to other countries and didn’t the USA at all. That left me in the lurch! I felt like I’d been hit in the stomach. I needed to quickly readjust and change my game. To start with a new country, I would have to go back to the beginning and re-do my home study. I wasn’t willing to retrace my steps, with a new country in mind.
In the end, I jumped whole heartedly back into the surrogacy boat. During this phase of my process, I hired a contract lawyer, Jon Pinney, and was being coached through the surrogacy, by Ann Durand. This was crucial. This gave me two people to bounce ideas off of. This definitely helped me to speed through the surrogacy process and get my dream children at lightning speed.
I used Surrogacy Alternatives Inc (SAI) to obtain my surrogate. SAI has been around since about 1998. I worked with both Diana Olmeda, the President and Ann Marie Aversano-Miranda, the VP. I would highly recommend them. They were very professional and extremely involved in every aspect of my process. I was guided by Ann Miranda to choose an excellent surrogate. My surrogate made a great difference in my overall experience. She was informative and kept me involved every few weeks with updates and what not.
My fertility lawyer was Rich Vaugn, of International Fertility Law Group, formally National Fertility Law Center (NFLC). In my case, my babies were mine, five months before their due date, in my surrogates body, signed off by a judge, in a court of law. This put me in a very comfortable position. I really didn’t need to worry about my surrogate was going to run off with my babies. I had the law on my side. Really and truly I never carried any of those fears in my heart. My surrogate was steady and knew she was doing this to help me create my family.
Concerning the medical aspects of the surrogacy arrangement, I chose to work with Dr. David Smottrich from La Jolla IVF. Dr Smotrich was amazing to work with. He was straight forward and informative. His location is key. Not only is San Diego, California a hot bed of surrogacy, but Calfornia is ahead of most of the rest of the country, as regards fertility law. Fortunately for me, SAI, La Jolla , and NFLC were very comfortable working with one another.
I used an anonymous sperm donor (obtained from Xytec) who was 21 and an egg donor who was 19 to create my embryos. In my estimation, I was too old to use my own eggs. The two embryos were transferred to my surrogate, who was 26, at the time of the transfer. I was present during the transfer, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, because I was actually able to see my babies on the screen. They simply looked like two bright pinholes of light on a gray background. I was so taken aback, that I could actually see my babies, at this very early stage in their development. What a moment! I surprised myself, by completely bursting into tears. Truly amazing! Never miss this moment, if you can help it!
My twin boys were born, at Kaiser Permanente of San Diego, when I was 49 1/2 years old, 13 months after consolidating all my efforts into surrogacy. I was present for the birth as well, which was another peak experience in my life. I cut the cord and damn near felt like I should be smoking a cigar!
When the boys were 5 years old, I donated out the remaining two embryos to a known donor. In the end, unfortunately, no baby resulted from this thaw and transfer process. What I can tell you, is that embryo donation is a completely emotionally distressing process. And such a surprise. The emotions I endured seemed to come out of nowhere! Yet everyone seems to go through this same agonizing process. I only know because I am a member of closed Facebook group for embryo donors.
The CDC explains that in 2006 – 2010, 11.9% of women struggled with infertility. Of this group of 7.4 million women, 29% sought medical intervention to help them pursue their dream of having a baby.
This is merely to show that you are not alone. You may feel alone, but in reality many of the women around you are struggling with the same issues. Roughly 1 in 8 couples have to deal with issues of infertility. Infertility is a roller coaster ride of emotions. Anxiety, depression and irritability can make getting pregnant even more difficult. High levels of cortisol negatively impact fertility. Reducing negative emotions during the time you are trying to conceive is key.
I would like to help you handle any of the obstacles you may have encountered in growing your family. I would like you to have your transformation from single person or couple, to family, faster than mine took. I would like to coach you to see your options and seek out the one most suited to you. Most importantly, I would like to see you can get that dream baby in your arms and be called Mom or Dad sooner, instead of later. I will be there for you every step of the way, in your journey to bring your dream baby home, no matter what method you choose. At Coaching Rocks we don’t merely drop you simply because you decide to go down a new avenue to bring your baby home.
Never Forget the Dream and Leap Into Action!
Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks
The Fertility Coach at Coaching Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio